There are so many different skincare ingredients on the market today that it can get overwhelming at times. Brands make everything sound good, and while one ingredient may be beneficial to one person, it could be less beneficial to another. It will save you a lot of money and time to know what ingredients work best for your skin type and concern.
When we hear the word vitamins we usually think of a small pill that provides us with the nutrients our bodies need. Vitamins are also a great topical skin treatment. Unfortunately, there is not a multivitamin we apply to our skin (at least that I know of?), so it’s helpful to understand the different vitamins that can be used on the skin and what skin concerns they are treating.
Vitamin A – Minimizing Appearance of Wrinkles
Vitamin A is an antioxidant essential for treating wrinkles and skin texture.
Also Known As : Retinol, retinoids, retinoic acid, retinyl, or Retin A.
- Removes blackheads and whiteheads
- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- Helps clear deep cystic acne
- Decreases oil production
- Prevents formation of skin cancer
Vitamin A can cause sensitivity to sunlight so it’s best to use at night before bed. It is sold over the counter in lower dosages, or you can get a higher dosage with a prescription from your doctor. Avoid using this if you are pregnant.
Vitamin B3 – Balancing Skin Tone
Vitamin B3 improves skin tone by reducing redness, evening out color and addressing texture.
Also Known As: Niacin or niacinamide.
- Helps reduce wrinkles
- Reduce uneven skin tone
- Helps heal acne and reduce hyperpigmentation
- Reduces topical inflammation
Over the counter, Vitamin B3 is referred to as niacinamide and can be used both morning and night.
Vitamin B5 – Eliminating Dryness
Vitamin B5 acts as a skin moisturizer, helping to keep skin soft, smooth and healthy.
Also Known As: Panthenol or pantothenic acid.
- Absorbs moisture from the air
- Create skin barrier that traps in moisture
- Anti-inflammatory by stimulating skin’s healing process
Vitamin C – Fading Hyperpigmentation
Perhaps one of the most talked about vitamins, vitamin C plays an essential role in skin health.
Also Known As: Ascorbic acid.
- Necessary in the formation of collagen
- Lightens skin pigmentation by inhibiting melanin formation
- Helps treat UV damage
Vitamin C is great to use during the day with an SPF to aid in UV protection.
Do not mix your vitamin C with vitamin A or B3 as they tend to neutralize each other making them both ineffective. To use them together safely, wait 30 minutes between the application of vitamin C and vitamin A or B3.
It’s important to use a high-quality vitamin C as if not it can become ineffective because it is an unstable ingredient that oxidizes quickly if it’s not formulated properly or exposed to water, air or light.
You can determine if it has oxidized by testing the smell and color. Your serum should be a white, clear or light champagne color. If it looks dark or cloudy it has oxidized and should be thrown out. Vitamin C serums should have little to no odor so if it smells sour it has been oxidized.
Vitamin E – Protect Skin From Sun Damage
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps hydrate skin and blocks free radicals from the body, which play a large part in the aging process.
Also Known As: Alpha-tocopherol
- Photoprotective effects for prevention of skin cancer
- Protects skin from pollution, free radicals and helps improve acne
- Makes other antioxidants more potent
When paired with vitamin C, vitamin E restores antioxidant function making them both more effective in fighting free radicals and protecting the skin barrier. Together they protect from sun damage as well as build collagen. They both brighten dark spots and even out skin tone.
Vitamin K – Brightening Dark Spots
When applied topically vitamin K can minimize the appearance of dark circles, stretch marks, scars, spider veins.
Also Known As: Phytonadione
- Helps minimize and heel bruises quickly
- Helps heal post-procedure skin
- Diminishes dark under eyes
- Calms redness and inflammation
- Strengthens skin
Vitamin K provides many benefits when applied topically but it does its best work when it’s consumed. Eat foods like kale, cabbage, spinach, milk, fish, etc.
While it’s very important to consume all the essential vitamins daily, using them topically can provide so many amazing skin benefits. Next time your skin is acting up look for products with the specific vitamins to help!